Edinburgh 14-21 Cardiff Blues

Edinburgh's_ill-fated Heineken Cup Pool 1 campaign_had one_final, frustrating twist at Murrayfield on Saturday night as Cardiff Blues emerged_21-14 victors from a game that_Rob Moffat's men will_believe was once more their's for the winning.

The capital club scored a magnificent first-half try through Ben Cairns and led going into the interval, but another string of cheap penalties and the sin-binning of Alan MacDonald saw them lose momentum in the third quarter, and a third seasonal loss to the Blues resulted.

Edinburgh's_ill-fated Heineken Cup Pool 1 campaign_had one_final, frustrating twist at Murrayfield on Saturday night as Cardiff Blues emerged_21-14 victors from a game that_Rob Moffat's men will_believe was once more their's for the winning.

The capital club scored a magnificent first-half try through Ben Cairns and led going into the interval, but another string of cheap penalties and the sin-binning of Alan MacDonald saw them lose momentum in the third quarter, and a third seasonal loss to the Blues resulted.

The second of those defeats came on the first round of Heineken action last October, and, in hindsight, set the tone for a campaign that_will be remembered as an exercise in what might have been.

Head coach Moffat confirmed: "I'm hugely frustrated after that game, because for an hour we worked hard to put ourselves in a position where we were saying,_'right, push on and win the match'.

"We put a lot of effort into the game, and at 14-9 [ahead], it was really on for us._We needed to get the next score, because_had we got it to 17-9, it might have freed us up.

"We gave away a number of soft penalties, and_that's killed us in the end._The game we play is high-tempo, and_as a team we_have to realise that it's the opposition under pressure, not us. We've not to be panicked into making a mistake, or giving away an avoidable penalty.

"Over-enthusiasm and a couple of bad decisions at the breakdown cost us dear at crucial times in this game. We've got three tough away_matches_coming up [in the Magners League against_Dragons, Munster and Scarlets), and we're going to have to scrape and scratch to get as many points as we can."

Cardiff went into the lead in the third minute, Scotland stand-off Dan Parks striking a familiar Murrayfield pose to kick a straightforward penalty.

Edinburgh hit back soon_after, Chris_Paterson stepping up to land a penalty of his own after the_touch judge intervened in the wake of a dubious Cardiff tackle.

There wasn't much in the way of fluidity in the opening quarter, neither side really dictating or being able to_play the match on their terms.

The Blues_moved back in front when Lee Halfpenny,_something of a specialist with kicks from_longer range, blooted over a penalty from out on the right._

Edinburgh missed an opportunity to level things up once more, Paterson marginally out with his own effort from left of centre, but there was an encouraging passage of play shortly before the half-hour mark as Lee Jones showed real drive and determination to put the hosts on the front foot, and deep into enemy territory.

On that particular occasion, Moffat's troops_couldn't quite inject the width they wanted, but soon broke Cardiff resistance with a delightful score. James King, on as a replacement for Simon Webster who suffered a head knock in a collision with Casey Laulala, sent through a brilliant grubber kick that Jim Thompson, showing a tremendous turn of pace, chased down alertly.

The full-back didn't dot down himself, but the ball broke enticingly for Cairns, now stationed on the wing, to kick through then_do the necessary in the right-hand corner. Paterson missed the conversion, but that little mishap did nothing to dampen the buzz round Murrayfield caused by the flash of inspiration and invention just before.

The Gala man made amends shortly after in any case, slotting over a penalty after Cardiff were pinged for going over the top.

HALF-TIME: EDINBURGH 11 CARDIFF BLUES 6

The second period didn't begin in auspicious fashion for Edinburgh, Parks sending over a penalty within two minutes of the restart, but Paterson soon got them back on an even keel with a three-pointer of his own.

The home side burst into life afresh when a clever midfield steal allowed Nick De Luca to launch a lovely handling sequence reminiscent of some of the play in this season's first home Heineken Cup fixture against Northampton Saints last October. The pace eventually went out of the move, and Cardiff forced a penalty, but Moffat's men will have drawn encouragement from the episode nonetheless.

The hosts were then forced to defend their line with energy and vigour as Cardiff_produced a sustained assault that looked ominous from the word go. A frenetic rearguard effort kept the visitors out, most impressively as the bulwark that is_Laulala_surged powerfully for the whitewash.

Edinburgh did concede shortly after, Halfpenny landing a penalty from_in front of the posts after the capital side were_pulled up for going off their feet._Things swiftly deteriorated for the Scots, another two penalties being conceded in quick succession and Halfpenny landing both, one from either side. To make matters worse, MacDonald was yellow carded after the second award.

Ten minutes later MacDonald was welcomed back to the pitch by the sight of another Halfpenny kick sailing between the posts. Those three points were the last of the night, and a sour endpoint to Edinburgh's European involvement for the season.

Edinburgh: J Thompson; L Jones, B Cairns, N De Luca, S Webster; C Paterson, M Blair; A Jacobsen, R Ford, L Niven, S MacLeod, E Lozada, D Denton, R Grant (capt), A MacDonald

Replacements: K Traynor, G Cross, D Young, F McKenzie, S McInally, G Laidlaw, R Samson, J King

Cardiff Blues: C Czekaj; L Halfpenny, C Laulala, J Roberts, R Mustoe; D Parks, T Slater; J Yapp, T Rhys Thomas, S Andrews, D Jones, P Tito (captain), A Pretorius, M Molitika, M Williams

Replacements: G Williams, F Filise, S Hobbs, B Davies, B White, C Sweeney, D Hewitt, T James

Heineken Man of the Match: Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues)

Ref: J Lacey (IRFU)